I did this for the first time last quarter and it was a HUGE success. Since we only have a couple of classes to go for the school year I decided to try it again. I had the students form their own groups of three. They all had one canvas provided with 3 ovals pre-drawn on them. I did this to take away the fear of a new canvas and to help them draw large.
The students had 5mins to discuss and make a plan, they were not allowed to touch the art at that point. Two of the trickiest things with this challenge, for grade 6 in particular, were:
1. They have to finish it in 65mins
2. They can’t use black until the very end. They were only allowed to use the colours provided. Expressionist colours were strongly encouraged.
When we had 10mins left I asked the class if they still wanted to do the challenge or if they’d like an extra class, because some were a little behind, but they all chose the challenge. This surprised me but also showed how much fun they were having.
Adding a deadline takes away the pressure of begin “bad”. It also means everyone has to participate for it to get completed in time. This really got me thinking I should do more of these throughout my teaching for all grade levels maybe even staff. It allows the students to work together (in groups they chose), have fun, and meet an achievable non-threatening challenge.
What really amazed me both times is how gorgeous the canvases are. They have such a loose, colourful style. I just love them.